Drivers competing in the 2018 MRF Legends Cars National Championship will once again be able to battle it out for one of the biggest prizes in club-level motorsport this year after series organisers today, Friday, 12th January, confirmed a continuation of its link-up with BTCC squad HMS Racing.
Announced at the annual Autosport International Show at Birmingham NEC, where the MRF Legends Cars stand is situated directly opposite the Motorsport News 60th Anniversary Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship feature, the Legends Cars will offer one of the most coveted prizes in national motor racing for a second straight season.
Running to the same format as last year’s scoring system, where drivers are graded on performance, presentation and sportsmanship by a panel of judges each race weekend, at the end of the season a standalone points table – away from the main championship – will determine the eventual winner.
Last year, MRF Legends Cars Vice-Champion Ben Power (Guilsfield, Powys) was the deserving recipient of a test at Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit in HMS Racing’s outgoing Toyota Avensis BTCC car, with first class tutelage and guidance from team ace Rob Austin. Steve Whitelegg (Bury) and Nathan Anthony (Horley), who were second and third, received passenger laps alongside Austin.
This time around, the Legends Cars competitors will fight it out for a test in the squad’s stunning new Alfa Romeo Giulietta touring car – which was officially unveiled to the motorsport world yesterday, Thursday, 11th January, at Autosport International.
Notably too for 2018, MRF Legends Cars National Championship owner Phil Cooper and HMS Racing team principal Simon Belcher, a former Legends Cars racer himself, have agreed to open the prize package up to a total of five drivers – in 2017 it was for the top three in the standalone table.
“We’re absolutely elated, not only to continue with the amazing BTCC prize test with HMS Racing but to actually enhance the prize package further to allow more MRF Legends Cars drivers to get the experience of being with a top, race-winning touring car team”, said Cooper.
“Even more exciting is the fact the eventual winner will get to drive the team’s absolutely glorious new Alfa Romeo – what a prize! Last year’s offering was incredible but for 2018 we’ve raised the bar, it’s easily one of the biggest and best prizes in club-level motorsport. I have to say, on behalf of the championship, a huge thank you to Simon Belcher and HMS for making this happen.”
The full prize structure will be confirmed in due course but it is expected a driver from each of the category’s classes – the Rookie Class and the Masters Class (which also incorporates the Golden Masters Class for drivers over 50-years-of-age) – will be included in the top five.
HMS Racing boss Simon Belcher said: “When we announced the 2017 prize this time last year it got a lot of attention and proved to be a major draw for drivers, so hopefully the enhancements we’ve made for this year will make it even more eye-catching. There’s also the added excitement of our brand new Alfa Romeo this time.
“The scoring system worked very well and Ben Power was an extremely deserving winner, with Steve Whitelegg and Nathan Anthony in second and third equally deserving. It gives every single driver in the championship a chance to potentially win the test and we believe that’s a far better way of doing things than just awarding the prize to the champion. We’re delighted to be providing this prize once again and looking forward to seeing who comes out on top.”
As well as offering such an amazing prize package, MRF Legends Cars is renowned as one of the most exciting forms of motorsport for any competitor to consider with packed grids, strong crowds at some of the biggest events in the UK and extremely cost-effective budgets. For a full season, which this year features no fewer than 51 races across nine weekends, the cost is just £10,000.
MRF Legends Cars will be present at Autosport International for the remainder of the show, which runs until Sunday, 14th January. Situated on Stand 6845 in Hall 6, opposite the BTCC display featuring the HMS Alfa Romeo, the Legends presence includes the eye-catching Se-Van of series regular Nathan Anthony and the car of 24 Hour Solutions, a brand new team to Legends for 2018.
Tickets for the Autosport International Show are available at www.autosportinternational.com
2018 MRF Legends Cars National Championship Calendar
Rd1: Oulton Park, Cheshire 17th March
Rds2&3: Brands Hatch, Kent 1st/2nd April *
Rds4&5: Croft, North Yorkshire 21st/22nd April
Rds6&7: Anglesey, Wales 26th/27th May
Rds8&9: Brands Hatch, Kent 9th/10th June **
Rds10&11: Donington Park, Leicestershire 21st/22nd July *
Rds12&13: Snetterton, Norfolk 8th/9th September *
Rds14&15: Pembrey, Wales 13th/14th October *
Rds16&17: Brands Hatch, Kent 3rd/4th November *
*Supporting the British Truck Racing Association
**Part of American Speedfest VI